To: You

From: The Quality Writing Center

CC: All Your Friends

Date: April 7, 2003

Re: Memo Format



All professional correspondence documents use block format (don't indent paragraphs) with single-spaced text. Double-space between the paragraphs. Keep reading for content and organization guidelines.

The introductory paragraph should contextualize the memo for your reader and describe the main point or action the reader should take after reading the memo. Readers of memos often skim the heading and the first one or two sentences of a memo, then decide if they should read it or toss it.

In longer memos (more than one or two paragraphs), you might want to break the body of the memo into sections and put informative headings at the start of each section—but not generic terms like "Analysis" or "Problem" but useful phrases like "Statistics on Use of Water Cooler" or "Work Remaining on Steel Wool Project." Middle paragraphs will present the supporting details of the information you're communicating.

The closing paragraph may seem repetitive but should be a reminder of what happens next, or what you want the recipient to do. Often memos ask for a specific action (meet with us at 1pm on Friday), a recommendation, or a look ahead (what do we do next? Where do I go from here?). This is where your memo will end because there is NO closing salutation or even signature in a memo.